Willis named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at UMES

Maryland –The University of Maryland Eastern Shore Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced the hiring of Malikah Willis as the head women’s basketball coach.
“We are excited to welcome Malikah Willis to UMES. During our national search, we received an influx of interest from qualified candidates. After a thorough review of each candidate, Coach Willis stood out as the best person to serve as our head women’s basketball coach,” Vice President of Athletics Tara A. Owens said. “Coach Willis has a proven track record of successful recruiting while building winning programs. She comes to UMES with a tremendous vision for Hawk basketball. Under her leadership, our women’s basketball team will reach new heights of success on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.”
Willis comes to UMES with over 23 years of collegiate coaching experience which includes stints at Kennesaw State (2022-24), Mississippi State (2021-22), Eastern Michigan (2020-21), Texas Tech (2019-20), College of Charleston (2017-19), Georgia Tech (2013-17), West Virginia (2009-13), Norfolk State (2007-09), Elizabeth City State (2004-07), Cheyney (2003-04), Chicago State (2002-03), and Illinois-Chicago (2001-02). During her career, Willis has served in various roles, including the lead recruiter positions at the majority of her schools.
A highly-touted recruiter, Willis has helped compile seven top-25 recruiting classes, including four while at West Virginia and three at Georgia Tech. She has signed two McDonald’s All-Americans and coached 16 student-athletes to all-conference honors during her time in the Big East, Big 12, ACC and the SEC. In addition, Willis has coached five players who have been drafted into the WNBA.
At her most recent coaching stop, Willis was integral in the development of a Kennesaw State program that achieved several milestones which included its first 3-0 and 4-0 starts to an Atlantic Sun schedule in program history. The squad also set a program record for an ASUN regular season win streak at six-straight games. The Owls also led the conference in double-doubles and offensive rebounds per game.
Prencis Harden led the conference with 10 double-doubles, Carly Hooks had the most 30-point games and Kundall Golden’s 49 blocks set the KSU Div. I single-season record while leading the ASUN. 2023-24 featured the best rebounding defense in KSU single-season history, the third-best rebounding margin and the fourth-best scoring defense in KSU Div. I history.
Prior to the success at KSU, she spent a season serving as the assistant, recruiting coordinator and player development manager while coaching a pair of Mississippi State All-SEC selections.
Among her other coaching career accolades include the accomplishments while at Georgia Tech and West Virginia. During her time at GT, the Yellow Jackets reached the NCAA tournament once while going to three postseason WNIT appearances while reaching the championship final once. While at WVU, Willis was part of a Mountaineer team that played in the NCAA tournament during all four years of her tenure, including the 2009-10 team which set a school-record with 29 wins in a single season.
“As I prepare for this opportunity at UMES, I appreciate and thank the campus community, President Heidi M. Anderson, Vice President Tara Owens and the search committee for choosing me to lead our women’s basketball program,” Willis said. “I am thrilled to be a part of this great institution as we build Hawk women’s basketball into a perennial championship contender. I look forward to working with our current players while immediately working towards building a highly-skilled and dynamic roster of student-athletes. Our ultimate goal is to put every student-athlete in a position to succeed on and off the floor.”
A four-year letterwinner at Iowa, Willis helped the Hawkeyes to a pair of Big Ten titles in 1995 and 1996. Willis graduated in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in arts, media studies and African American world studies.
She played two seasons professionally, both overseas in Poland (1998-99) and Finland (1999) as well as a season in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2000).
Willis takes over a UMES program coming off a 15-15 overall record and an 8-6 ledger in MEAC play this past season.


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